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I Know First-Hand That San Francisco Cops Like Mopars

In last month’s column I mentioned that my old friend was up for sale. I also mentioned a certain incident involving being let off by a police officer. This was not an uncommon occurrence with my yellow ’66 Satellite. This car was like an automatic get out of jail free card. I mean I was bust proof in that thing. So many times I was dead to rights fit for cuffs and so many times I drove away with a warning… or a “hey, nice car man, what’s under the hood?”

One time, right after I had just installed the first Sure-Grip the car ever had I was knocking back some pints with friends at the ironically named “Latin American” club on 22nd Street here in San Francisco. This was probably about 1995 or so and it had not been that long since the gringos had taken over this bar. I was living a short ways away on 21st Street so I didn’t think too much of the three pints I had downed, or the shot of bourbon. It was a Tuesday or a Wednesday night and the streets were pretty quiet and it was early. I felt a little buzzed and thought I had better get going before things really got out of hand.

I walked on down to the old girl, slid behind the wheel and fired up. I knew full well I was over the legal limit but I was cocky (stupid) and young (stupid). I eased out of the parking spot and chugged at a walk up 22nd Street. My friends were standing outside the bar goofing off and I had all the windows down, smoking a cigarette and feeling cool as can be. As I came up on the bar they all were giving the “light ‘em up” sign and I stopped in front and leaned out saying, “c’mon man, some other time.” With that I braked it, throttled and lit ‘em good. A nice cloud was forming and the sidewalk was getting pretty hazy. I eased off the brake and let her slide past the bar and around the corner leaving two nice perfect stripes on the blacktop. I drove about a hundred feet down Valencia and the motorcycle cop pulled me over.

“Can I see your license?”

I was doomed, or so I thought. I had seen this particular cop busting people before and I was sure a DUI was coming my way.

“How many have you had, Mr. Thomson?”

“Excuse me, Sir?” I thought I was playing it so cool.

“I can smell you from here, how many have you had?”

“I drank three pints, Sir, over the last two hours.” I went for broke with the honesty, leaving out the bourbon and fibbing about the time elapsed.

“I want you to pull over into that spot over there and get out of the car.”

“Yes, Sir”

Shit, here comes the breathalyzer, I thought. I pulled into the spot in one move, cut the engine and waited. He walked up to the window, ordered me out of the car and walked around the car and then back to me.

“This is a very nice Mopar you’ve got.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Do you think you can sober up?”

“Yes Sir, I can do that.”

He held up my license and said, “I’m going to hold onto this. I want you to meet me here in half an hour. If you are not stone cold sober by then I will keep this, arrest you and have that car impounded. Understood?”

“Yes Sir and thank you, Sir.”

“Get going.”

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